SOLD FOR: $11,026.00
Make: Browning / Fabrique Nationale
Model: Auto 5, A5
Serial Number: 38890
Year of Manufacture: 1925 (shotgunworld.com)
Gauge: 16 Gauge
Action Type: Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Markings: The left side of the receiver is marked “FABRIQUE NATIONALE D’ARMES DE GUERRE HERSTAL BELGIQUE / BROWNINGS PATENT DEPOSE”. The right side of the receiver and the bolt are marked with several Belgian proof marks. The bolt is also marked with the last three digits of the serial number. The bottom of the receiver is marked with a belgian proof mark above and below the serial number. There is a gold plate inlaid in the stock which reads “DONATED TO / DUCKS UNLIMITED / BY NANA & FRANK / PACHMAYR”. On the 27″ barrel the top of the integral solid matte rib is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY OGDEN UTAH”, the barrel lug is marked with the serial number, the left side of the barrel is marked “FULL 16 SPECIAL STEEL 1 Kg 000” along with several belgian proof marks, the bottom of the barrel is marked “CHOKE 16.8″ and with more proof marks. The under-side of the chamber is marked with the last three digits of the serial number. The 24” barrel on the left side is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY ST LOUIS MO / ***SPECIAL STEEL-16 GAUGE-SHELLS 2 3/4″ 0 Kg 967” and with several proof marks. The bottom of the barrel is marked “168” and also has two more proof marks. The top of the barrel also has several proof marks. The barrel lug is marked “39935” over a different numerical marking which is no longer legible. The two included chokes are marked “16 POWER PAC GA. MEDIUM RANGE” and “16 POWER PAC GA. SHORT RANGE”. The installed choke on the 24″ barrel is not marked but is likely the long range choke.
Barrel Length: 27” and 24″
Choke: Full and Variable
Sights / Optics: The 27″ barrel has a tiny white ceramic mid bead and brass front bead. The 24″ barrel has a red composite front bead.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are circasian walnut, honey colored with black marbling and flame crotch figure the whole length. Elaborate fleur-de-lisand panel, full coverage checkering in fine 26 lines per inch. Inletted contrasting ebony grip panels. Length of pull is 14 1/2″ over a mershon imperial pad. Two solid gold inscription plates, one uninscribed inletted into the grip cap, and presentation plate inletted into toe line of the stock inscribed as described in Markings. The whole stock is masterfully crafted, likely by George Hoenig who was the main in-house stocker for Pachmayr at this period. The forend has a hairline crack on the bottom starting at the receiver and going into the checkering. The finish on the wood (not the wood) shows some cracking. There are no chips and no cracks other than the one described. Overall, the stocks are in Excellent condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore are both bright. There is no erosion in either bore.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows light scratches throughout the receiver with small, very light freckles of surface erosion in patches. The 27″ barrel has wear on the bottom in front of the lug and on the lug itself. The 24″ barrel has a knick in the rear knurled portion of its Pachmayr Power Pac choke tube and compensator as well as scattered light handling marks. Overall, this shotgun is in Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: In addition to the gun and two barrels is the aforementioned replacement chokes in an oiled canvas snap-top case with wrench, Browning Business Reply card with letter requesting that the card be filled out, package for instructions (instructions not present) inside of which is the key for the brown Tolex leather-cloth covered case. The case has top grade cowhide binding, stop hinges, soft low-pile plush interior, sanctuary bronze hardware with lock and key, tough waterproof, fireproof exterior which resists scuffing, perspiration, oil, gasoline, alcohol, caustics, acids, and yet is easily cleaned with soap and water, according to the case card which is also included. The case has some wear on the interior from the barrels, but the exterior is Excellent with two knicks that go through the coating, a few light scuffs, and some wear at the edges and corners. Also included is a hard-bound copy of the book “Frank A. Pachmayr America’s Master Gunsmith” by John Lachuk which details the life and business of Frank A. Pachmayr who originally donated this shotgun to a Duck’s Unlimited fundraising event.
Our Assessment: Browning Auto-5s are cool. Grade 4 Pre-War Auto-5s are even cooler. A grade 4 pre-war Auto-5 donated to Duck’s Unlimited by Frank and Nan Pachmayr themselves is just awesome. While Frank Pachmayr was considered the foremost custom gunmaker and gunsmith on the west coast, if not the entire US, he was also a philanthropist donating to all sorts of causes throughout the world including conservation institutions such as Ducks Unlimited. You can read more about this fascinating man in the provided book. The shotgun is in fantastic condition given that it was made nearly a century ago and much of the light wear will be easily overlooked as the high-grade wood, gold inlay, and engraving tends to draw the eye. The attractive case will keep the gun from acquiring more wear as well as serving to store it in a manner befitting its quality. Should you choose to take it out and shoot it, the compensator will make for a very comfortable shooting gun and the 27″ full choke barrel will give you a little more range. This is just a great gun with a neat history and nice accessories included. Please see our photos and good luck!